In my 13 years plus selling insurance I have tried many different techniques. Cold calling, verified leads, cross selling among others. One common thread that I have found in a successful sale is customer confidence. The way you conduct yourself and represent your company is of the utmost importance. You need to read your client and try to be on the same level as they are. If they are the relaxed type stay relaxed, slightly informal but maintain an attitude of confidence and professionalism. If they are the more uptight type of client you may want to maintain a formal and direct approach to your sale. I will attempt to explain a few methods that may bring you some success.
Cold calling This is probably the most difficult and possibly the least productive of all techniques that I have used. Even so, when times are tough you do what you have to do. This is the way I started my agency, and I built from there.
You should know what you’re up against when cold calling, you may have interrupted the person you’re calling, they don’t know you, and they think they don’t want to know you. These are two of the main problems that immediately come up.
With the odds against you, make the call anyway. Start with a greeting and introduce yourself and your company. It is best if you can ask them to let you quote at least one line of insurance then and there, but if your potential client seems hurried you can offer to make an appointment to call back so they are ready and in the mindset of insurance. This will make the sale easier.
Your Introduction should sound something like this:
Hello can I speak with Mr. Smith? Oh Mr. Smith this is John from such and such Insurance and I am callin you today to offer you a free quote for your auto insurance. It will take just a few moments and I can go over some of your current coverages you have now. What company do you currently have for your auto insurance?
If they seem hurried, invite them to your office for a full insurance review where you can both sit down and go over the coverages.
Lead list When you are calling from a qualified lead list your chances for success are a bit better. Be sure the list is current, not more than a few months old. Some lead list companies are known to sell lists a year or more old.
When you start your calling, right off the bat introduce yourself, your company and where you received their information be as specific as possible. This can form a connection between you and your client, which you don’t have when cold calling. Then follow your basic pre-planned script.
Your existing book of business
A good time to call your current clients for cross selling is approximately a month before their renewal. You can take this opportunity to review their current policy and possibly discover a need for more or yes even less coverage. Other times to use as a cross selling device is when your clients get married, have children, get divorced, buy a new car or house, move, and start a new career. At these times you may discover that they are eligible for more discounts or rate changes.
Possibly the best way to cross sell is when your client calls in to make a change or about their bill. Take care of their needs first, then casually ask them to let you review the lines of business they hold with other companies. Ask the question “So Jane, I see we don’t cover your home insurance, can I ask why?…” This is a good time to cross sell because the client already has their insurance in mind and will give you their full attention. If they are busy ask them to come in and sit down with you to go over all their insurance needs and mention the convenience of having all their insurance in one office. Always try to act as a trusted advisor when speaking to your clients, this will put you in a position of authority and they will be more likely to trust you and listen to your suggestions.
Keeping in contact with your clients is key to building a strong business. Familiarity breeds loyalty and this retains clients. It is much easier to keep a client than find a new one. Asking for referrals is important too. Word of mouth is important if you can encourage your clients to connect you with their friends and family, this is another way to build and keep your business
A last note about staff
It is important to have a professional licensed staff. Take the time to properly train your staff so that they are knowledgeable about your insurance products, and are willing to provide excellent customer service to each client. Your staff will be the first to talk to the client and an educated, professional staff can help take care of most of the customer service and leave you more time to sell. Have your staff keep you informed about changes and problems. You must oversee your operation and be able to manage the operations. If you have a quality, trained staff, you shouldn’t have to spend more than a few hours a week checking on their progress and procedures.